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Russia to host talks on eliminating Syria chemical arsenal - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A UN vehicle is seen near a photo of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad at the entrance of a hotel where a team of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are staying in Damascus October 8, 2013. (Reuters/Khaled Al-Hariri)

A UN vehicle is seen near a photo of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad at the entrance of a hotel where a team of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are staying in Damascus October 8, 2013. (Reuters/Khaled Al-Hariri)

Moscow, Reuters—Russia will host international talks on Friday on the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

The meeting in Moscow will draw together experts from Russia, the United States, Syria, the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ryabkov told Voice of Russia radio on Tuesday.

Syria agreed to abandon its chemical weapons under a deal proposed by Russia to avert potential US military action after a deadly August 21 sarin gas attack the United States blamed on President Bashar Al-Assad’s government.

A plan adopted by the OPCW in The Hague last month called for the most critical chemicals to be transported out of Syria by December 31 and destroyed by mid-March. All other declared chemical materials would be eliminated by June 30.

“We are certain that we will be able to complete this process in the agreed timeframe, meaning in the first half of the coming year,” said Ryabkov.

Russia sent trucks and armored vehicles to Syria last week to transport toxins to the port city of Latakia for shipment out of the war zone by sea.

Russia has been Assad’s most powerful supporter during the Syrian conflict, blocking attempts to push him from power or punish him with sanctions. Along with the United States and the United Nations, Russia is helping to organize the Geneva II peace conference scheduled to start on January 22 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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